Drinking fountains, circa 2012

I started this blog in late 2012. I was reeling from a soon-to-be consummated divorce and  the recent deaths of my mother and father. I was working more marketing and writing jobs than you could shake a stick at, trying to keep my boys in their house and their school.

I was also in the throes of raising two young sons. I’m still raising those sons, but one will soon be off to college and the military, while the other one will begin high school. The cliché holds true: The days are long, but the years–man, the years fly.

Back then, I think I might have averaged 10 followers and a couple of likes per post. And I’m pretty sure those followers were my 10 closest family members. Since then, this blog has grown to 11,000+ followers and the wonderful community–you all–who shares in triumphs and heartaches, laughs at the crazy, and offers advice of all ilk. 

For those of you who weren’t with me back then (all 11,276 of you), I thought I’d offer a glimpse backward. So much has changed–and yet, I think you’ll see in the writing, my core doesn’t. Just as I see yours does not–you’re good eggs through and through.

Thank you from the bottom of my heart. Please keep reading, and commenting, and scolding, and sharing, and applauding. I never meant to live quite so out loud. But I am so very glad I did.

Now, on to the tired ruminations of my younger self. I take you to my kitchen island, circa 2012. I miss the little munchkins in this post. (But not the vomit. Never the vomit.)

Oh. My. God. Enough already.

Here I sit, at my kitchen island, at 9 p.m. I await some final changes to a project that I must get to our Australian team this evening so they can work on it while I sleep. I am getting instant messaged by someone who also is up working at this hour on a different project with a similar deadline. And I owe that person changes. It’s a never-ending game of Monkey on Your Back.

My eldest just threw up loudly upstairs. He tells me he “didn’t quite make it all the way to the bathroom.” So, vomit awaits me on the second floor.

My youngest is eating what I’m sure is his tenth snack of the evening, chatting away as I try to a) type, b) ignore the vomit (for now) and c) contemplate how to rearrange my son’s makeup math test because he’s sick yet again and ponder how long it will be before I’ll ever take a bubble bath again. (I’ll take short odds on 2020.)

And my youngest chats away:

“Luc wore his gym shoes to the zoo on our field trip last year by mistake. We’re not supposed to do that, but everyone gets confused sometimes.”

Silence.

I absentmindedly say, “Hmm? Yes, dear. Right.” Type frantically two separate instant messages as yet another teammate tells me she’s on a conference call with Asia and needs me to chime in on something.

“Mom, the French are smarter than us. They make Monday the first day of the week, which makes sense. I don’t know who picked Sunday as the first day of the week on our calendar, but it’s stupid.”

I admonish, “Don’t say ‘stupid.’ But you’re right. Monday makes more sense.” Type type type. Send.

“And Mom, first grade has the best drinking fountain—the coldest, best water. Second grade is disgusting. Third grade is OK. Fourth grade and up—now those drinking fountains are the best. Mom—are you listening?”

“Yes, M,” I say. “I hear you. Cold water. Always the best.”

“Mom, did I tell you we’re trying to learn The Three Bears in French?” He follows with a string of incomprehensible French words that I can only assume is a Three Bears soliloquy.

“Very nice, Boo. Your accent is really great.”

And then, I stop. It hits me. Stop typing, you dimwit. Look him in the eye. And listen.

So I do. I hear how he is very proud of his newfound skating abilities. He ranks himself and his three best friends on this skate-o-meter quite proudly. He tells me about the new book he’s reading and how much he loves it. About what he had for dinner tonight with his father and why he thinks he forgot his math book today. And, that his small group at school won the coding contest by a more than 100-point margin.

Is any of this earth-shattering? No. Will it help my colleagues in Asia or Australia? Absolutely not (and yes, they’re still pinging me left and right). Is the vomit upstairs drying on my carpet as we speak? Probably. (Don’t judge me, people.)

It may not be earth-shattering, but it’s fleeting. Oh man, so fast these days go. My retching elder son barely wants to tell me the time when I ask him, let alone talk to me about French or the book he is reading.

I love this little boy chatter. So much so that I’m cutting this blog entry short. I’m heading upstairs to step gingerly through my vomit-filled hallway and read to this wonderful little boy. And then listen a bit more. Because there will always be monkeys waiting to jump on my back. But this little guy won’t wait. He’ll grow up whether I listen or not.

“Mom,” he yells down the stairs. “I don’t know what I want to be when I grow up.”

“That’s ok, sweets,” I say. “You have plenty of time to figure that out.” But in the meantime, I’m heading upstairs to help with this existential crisis. Oh, and clean up vomit. All while tucking two boys into bed.

I smile.

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36 Comments Add yours

  1. fritzdenis says:

    When my daughter was a two year old, a couple in their sixties stopped their walk and watched my wife and I playing with Annie in the front yard. Judy and I were fairly exhausted most of the time back then, and we had plenty of financial worries. It must have shown. The woman told us, “You’re going to look back on these days as the best of your lives.” She was right, of course.

    1. candidkay says:

      The saying is true: the days can be long but the years are short :-). I feel exactly the same way.

  2. You are so gonna be glad for this precious page out of your memoir twenty years from now.

    1. candidkay says:

      👍🏻😘. I agree!

  3. Beautiful post, reminds me of my children and grandchild… time flies by but I gave it all my attention too❤️ Happy days x

    1. candidkay says:

      Yes! I can’t believe this was just a few years ago. It already seems like forever ago.

  4. Aunt Beulah says:

    It sounds like you’ve been making correct decisions as a parent all along, Kay, no matter how fragmented or stressed you felt. You and your boys are lucky to have each other.

    1. candidkay says:

      That’s very kind of you. I wish I could say my decisions always had the intended effect. My eldest still gives me white hair:o.

  5. Amy says:

    I love this little glimpse into your past. Such precious days, when our children are small… You were, and are, a great mom! You’re a great friend as well. Happy blogversary! I consider myself lucky to have found you out here in Etherland! xo

    1. candidkay says:

      Well, here I beg to differ. I am the lucky one. You bring such beauty and light, Amy, to your posts and your creations. We are still going to meet one of these days for a long afternoon of tea and books . . .

      1. Amy says:

        Yes, we are. Thank you for your ever-present kindness… xoxo

  6. So much has changed, and yet at our core it doesn’t. This is so true. I so love that in the midst of so much busy-ness, you heard the call from your heart and really heard your young son. There are days when my son plays video games and loves to share. Even though I don’t play them, I can appreciate the teamwork, practice, and skill, and of course his enthusiasm for the games. And yes, these days are very long lately, but how did so many years fly by?

    1. candidkay says:

      It’s all about meeting them where they’re at and put down all the other things clamoring for our attention. So very true . . .

  7. Congratulations on your blogiversary, Kristine. I’ve been a fan for about four years and your site has evolved but your insights have always been spot on. There is nothing better than ignoring the world to focus on what really matters. Cleanses the soul.

    1. candidkay says:

      Thank you! The longer I live, the more I realize ignoring the world is really the wisest move most days:).

  8. Celeste says:

    Congratulations on your 11,000 followers. That’s quite an accomplishment!

    1. candidkay says:

      Thank you! Best followers around:)

  9. From the first post you had me! Love your honesty and your ability to express the reality of life with a great sense of humor. It’s what we all need. 🌈💕💚

    1. candidkay says:

      Aw, thank you! I try. And when I feel like I need some inspiration, you know whose blog I head to :-).

  10. I love being one of your readers!! Your posts always make me smile. Such a strong woman and warrior with so much wisdom. Sending hugs and so much good energy your way. xoxo

    1. candidkay says:

      Thank you! That means so very much to me.

  11. MollyB111 says:

    oh this was not only your amazing writing Kristine … but heart opening. (Also a mom to two teen boys/young men and it does fly!) HUG.

    1. candidkay says:

      I’ll meet that hug and raise you one :-). Thank you, as always, for being such a supporter! Your blog brings so much light to people.

      1. MollyB111 says:

        Awww… teary eyed. The nicest words to read. Have a great weekend and until the next blog post 🙂 ❤

  12. This makes me so emotional. I was also a single mom raising two boys. How I wish I could have those days back! I lost my oldest when he was 26 years old and my youngest is now soon to be married. Those days go by way too quickly. I loved raising boys!

    1. candidkay says:

      Oh, Michelle. I have just checked out your blog and I am so very sorry about your son. I don’t even know what to say because when I think about losing one of my boys, the grief is palpable and it hasn’t even happened. I so admire your strength and your fortitude. Thank you for reading and allowing me to make you feel something that I hope was not too painful.

      1. It is my knowledge that gets me through the days. Then there are reminders which bring a smile to my face. Such as I just noticed my hardwood floor has large muddy footprints all across it left from when my youngest visited earlier this evening. Brings back the old days. Yes, this makes me smile!

      2. candidkay says:

        We are soul sisters in the dirt :-). I have been looking at an extremely smudged wall near my door for about a week now. You’ve just reminded me that I need to clean that up! And you can guess that I was not the one who did it :-).

  13. lol…wow, doesn’t that bring back memories Kristine. I could even smell it, it has a very unique…er…flavour 😀
    Here’s to them getting old enough to do their own 😀

    1. candidkay says:

      Oh, and here I was hoping you’d focus on anything BUT the vomit :). But of course.

      1. Mmmm, must be a male thing. Well, it does leave an impact, in more ways than one 😀
        And I did notice the great wisdom of your attention to the youngest, he was only talking but in truth wanted to touch his mothers heart…and she felt that and responded in kind…even though the world was going to hell in a hand basket 😀 Well done kind lady ❤
        There…am I forgiven for allowing my (old) male side to rear its old way of responding? lol 😀
        Plus I think I have an excuse, it has been raining here for 2 days and after 8 inches of rain I think my brain may be a little water logged. Here in Australia, after many days and weeks of dry conditions and some days reaching 45C temperatures, it does what it normally does and returned to another extreme weather position to see if we are awake yet 😀

      2. candidkay says:

        Forgiven, you waterlogged heathen :-).

      3. And missing the point again….doesn’t time fly 😀
        I’ve got six grand kids now, the oldest about to get her license to drive…sheesh, I was only at her tenth birthday the other day. I swear someone has stolen a part of memory and the leftover bits get crammed together so it seems like a very short period of time has gone on by 😀

      4. Oh thank you ma’m for forgiving me. I’ll go play in the water for a while and see if that brings back my youth…or a kick in the pants for trudging mud inside 😀

      5. candidkay says:

        Likely both! 😉

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